This past summer, my wife and I took a short vacation to San Francisco. To be honest, our first impression of the city was a little bit underwhelming. Their rapid transit system was dark and gloomy (despite being efficient), there didn’t seem to be many street tree’s and the city was a bit dirty. Then something happened, we started eating (a practice we ended up repeating many times throughout the trip). It didn’t seem to matter where we ate, what food genre, what price point, the food was great everywhere we went. In deciding where to eat, we followed two simple rules.
- No Chains
- Eat where the locals appear to be eating.
In the end there were many things I ended up loving about San Francisco, but the unexpected highlight of the trip was the food. The city has clearly developed a great food culture. Just like the tech industry has clustered in the Bay Area, great food also seems to have found their own cluster. I am not sure what the genesis of this cluster is, but the City appears to be encouraging this in every way they can. It was common to see restaurants spill out onto the sidewalks and back alleys. Food Trucks also seemed to be permitted all over the city.
In New Westminster, I think we are fortunate to have some great restaurants but I am not sure how big we are on the foodie map. I’d never viewed food as an important urban quality, but after my visit to San Francisco I’ve realized it’s an important ingredient in city building.